The ultimate side for your weekend barbie. This cos salad is packed with fresh produce and smoky flavour.
Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.
Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.
Nothing says spring quite like asparagus! With most Australian asparagus produced between September and December, these luscious spears, which are believed to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean region, are loved for their distinctive earthy flavour. With a myriad of ways to cook asparagus, including stir-frying, steaming and roasting, you can also bbq asparagus.
In Australia, green, purple and white asparagus are available, although green is by far the most popular. The green variety is rich in asparagine - a non-essential amino acid - and consequently, its flavour is more intense with a nutty aftertaste. White asparagus is slightly milder and, unlike green asparagus, should be peeled before use.
Asparagus lends itself to some classic pairings, think eggs, dairy produce, seafood and even truffles. But it’s perhaps in an asparagus salad recipe where these jaunty green spears really come into their own, with countless flavour combinations celebrating this most versatile of vegetables.
First things first. Before we learn how to cook asparagus, we should know how best to select and prepare it. Look for firm, bright smooth spears of a similar size with closed, compact tips. When you snap fresh asparagus, it should be crisp, moist and juicy. Prepare it by snapping off the woody ends with your forefinger and thumb. But if you’re wondering how to cut asparagus, the best way is also the most obvious. Line up the asparagus spears on a chopping board, all facing the same direction. Grab half of the stalks with your non-cutting hand and then slice off the bottom tough parts of the stalks just where the colour changes from white to green.
As for how to store asparagus, well, bear in mind that asparagus tastes best when cooked on the day that you buy it. But if that’s not possible, store them as you would cut flowers. Trim the bottoms as outlined above and then stand the spears upright in a glass or jar containing 1-2cms of water. If space is a problem you can also wrap them in a clean, damp tea towel in the crisper section of the fridge for up to four days.
So what is the best way to cook asparagus? Obviously, that depends on which asparagus recipe you’re making or the desired flavour or texture. For grilled asparagus recipes like this grilled cos and asparagus salad, lightly brush the asparagus with oil and then cook on a hot barbecue or grill pan for just 1 minute on each side or until lightly charred. Grilling is a popular method because it makes the asparagus tender while imparting a delightful smoky flavour, plus it’s the very definition of fast food.
As for how to roast asparagus, simply place your prepared asparagus on a baking tray and toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. How long to roast asparagus depends on how thick your spears are; between 10 and 20 minutes should do it. Other flavours that will complement your roasted asparagus include lemon zest and/or lemon wedges, a sprinkle of grated parmesan, fresh mint or parsley or toasted sliced almonds.
Steaming asparagus in a steamer for around 5 to 10 minutes is another popular method of cooking asparagus, as is microwaving for four to five minutes. If you’re using a stovetop, poaching in a little water for a maximum of 10 minutes is the way to go.
Healthy, tasty and quick to cook, asparagus is the go-to ingredient for all kinds of recipes. For more salad recipes with asparagus, why not try this zucchini and asparagus salad with egg, a grilled asparagus salad with fried chickpeas or this barbecued asparagus caprese salad? Asparagus is perfectly paired with salmon in a stir fry with ginger and teamed with egg for a meat-free pasta dish with cheesy breadcrumbs. Finally, Curtis Stone suggests the veggie side of your dreams by pan roasting asparagus with pecorino and gives roast chicken a twist by serving with zesty asparagus.
Energy: 820kJ/224 Cals (9%)
Protein: 5g (10%)
Fat: 16g (23%)
Sat fat: 2g (8%)
Carb: 6g (2%)
Sugar: 4g (4%)
Fibre: 5g (17%)
Sodium: 58mg (3%)